Monday, 9 May 2016

Chocolate & Wine and everything's fine :)

This year at Romancing the Capital I wanted to do something a little different. As I work in the alcohol industry, using the knowledge I've gained in the last eighteen years made sense. Being able to share what I know, hopefully made the event a bit more interesting and everyone got to learn something new. That's where they idea for doing a chocolate and wine tasting came from. Talking about two of my favorite things.

On Saturday, I was asked a couple times to write up a recap of the tasting because there was so much going on that many people forgot exactly what we tasting and and matched together. This is for you :)

Thank you, January Apted for the picture.
When everyone came in this is how it was set up.  It was all Lindt chocolate...because that's my favourite. :)

The chocolate from left to right...

Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate
Dark with Black Current & Almond
Dark with Cocoa nibs
Dark with Sea Salt
Dark with Intense Orange

The wines we tasted with it were...

Dry Sparkling  (Trapiche Extra Brut)
Cabernet Sauvignon from Chili (Gato Negro)
Sweet White (Pelee Island Late Harvest Vidal)

It's important to remember that there was no right or wrong combinations. We all have different tastes, experiences, and exposure to foods growing up. This will all effect the tasting and individual experience.

The first pairing we did was the Sparkling with the Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate. Some found that the wine helped to cleanse their palate after the extra creamy chocolate. Others found that the sweetness made the wine more tart.

Next we tasted the Cabernet Sauvignon with the Dark with Black Current & Almond and the Dark with Cocoa nibs. Again there were many different reactions. A lot of people loved the Black Current with the red wine, they found it brought out the sweetness of the fruit flavours. Others thought the fruit flavours melded together and cancelled each other out so it ended up blah.

Then we moved onto the Sweet White with the Dark with Intense Orange. Vidal is known for being a strong/pronounced white and the orange intensified that flavour. Overall there seemed to be an agreement it was a good balance between sweet and bitter with this combination.

Finally I suggested they try the Dark with Sea Salt with each of the wines. We used salt to enhance and intensify flavours and the idea was to see if it worked the same with wine. The results were completely varied, which is normal for a large group of people.

Some of the other observations around the room...

The sea salt made the sparkling go flat
The cocoa nibs made the red wine taste bitter

Some of the points I made during the tasting:

There is no bad wine. 
Even if its only the winemaker that likes it. Everyone's tastes are different and there is no right or wrong answer.

Acid LOVES Acid. 
If you're having a acidic dish (heavy on the tomatos for example), match it with a wine that has an elevated acidity to it. (Something from a cooler climate or Old world style) Because the acid will cancel each other out on your palate.

Bitterness accumulates.
You're first cup of coffee is amazing but the second and third aren't as smooth? That's because the bitterness is accumulating on your palate. You need to have something to cleanse the flavour off. Something to watch out for that in are, collard greens, arugula, broccoli, citrus peel, dark chocolate etc

When in doubt, find a Product Consultant. That's more for those who live in Ontario and shop at the LCBO. Look for the employee in the white shirt, they are the ones who do all the tastings, study and are tested every year. If you have a question they're the ones who can answer it for you.

If you don't live in Ontario, ask your local liquor store if they have a product expert or sommelier on staff. OR don't be afraid to PM or email me. I'd be happy to help out as much as I can. :)

If you were at my event, let me know in the comments what your favourite match was!! Have you experimented more with wine and food on your own? Share that too!
Thank you for the picture Heather Long.Yup, I'm a hand talker. They're always blurry in pictures. lol


  1. I'm not normally a fan of red wine but I enjoyed the combination of red and black currant chocolate. There wasn't a combination that I didn't like. Thanks for the guided tour and handy info! I learned a lot!

    1. That's awesome! Thank you so much :) I love hearing that I was able to pass on a bit of knowledge and it was enjoyable.